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Fire Chief Working to Make Restaurants Safer

Deputy Fire Chief Mark Poirier (left) stands with New England Steak and Seaford Restaurant Owner James Quirk, who is holding a new flameless candle that his restaurant now uses.

Mendon's Deputy Fire Chief Mark Poirier is on mission to make restaurants in town safer. At the urging of Poirier, New England Steak and Seafood became the first eatery in town to go from flame candles to flameless candles.

"They're a fire hazard," said Poirier concerning the use of flame candles that many restaurants use today. As a result, he approached New England Steak and Seafood owner James Quirk about the change approximately one year ago. "Chief (Ernest) Horn and I discussed this issue and agreed that the Steakhouse would be the best place to start this program," said Poirier.

And while Quirk was on board with the idea, he first wanted to make certain the right type of flameless candles were purchased. It wasn't a difficult decision to make," said Quirk. "I was just waiting for the right options to be available." After some lengthy research, he discovered some to his liking and in late September, all 75 tables at the restaurant made the switch.

Poirier said much of the thought behind using the flameless candles is due to the fact that Mendon is a rural community which has limited water for fighting fires. "The ambition for alternative options for fire safety within the town is very important to me," said Poirier.

According to Poirier, flameless candles give off no heat, flame, or smoke, which therefore eliminates the possibility of fire or injury. Another benefit in utilizing flameless candles is the fact that they last much longer than wax or liquid fuel-powered candles. "Liquid fuel candles will burn up to 40 hours. An LED candle using a rechargeable battery, however, can last up to 10,500 hours," said Poirier.

The Quirk family has owned and operated New England Steak and Seafood for more than 55 years and thankfully, there have never been any large scale fires. However, Quirk stated that in the past, the flame candles did cause some burn marks to the wine lists on the tables and he always had concerns about the table cloths. "I now have peace of mind," he said. Quirk added that the new candles have not changed the ambiance of the restaurant. "The new light is fabulous," he said.

Poirier now has plans to approach other restaurants in the community about the measure. Quirk stated he hopes they follow suit. "I would encourage houses and restaurants to do it," he said.


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